Your attic may be full of French sports history. Old sports memberships, club photos, entrance tickets and even maybe pigou caps from the Tour de France?! In view of the Paris 2024 Olympics, the departmental archives across France want to collect documents concerning sporton the same principle as the collection of the archives of the First World War, which took place between 2014 and 2018. The campaign was launched in Tours, this Friday, June 23.
All sports associations and clubs are invited to deposit their archives. But more broadly, each of us is concerned. Dusty papers in the attic, a picture of grandpa on a bicycle from the 1960s. don’t throw anything away, at the risk of raising archivists’ hairs. Everything is a matter of making history, explains Lydiane Gueit-Montchal, director of the Departmental Archives. « There is no limit. We can give almost all the documents that are related to a sports practice. For example, in what we have already collected, there are documents that begin at the end of the 19th century, with for example the Cercle de voile de Touraine. And then there are photographs of sporting events that took place last year or two years ago. »
Trophies and large objects will only be kept in digital format. One of the ambassadors of this collection is Emmanuel Laurentin, journalist on France Culture. He sees it, sport documents society« it’s amazing. We can see thanks to films on the history of sport how people dressed on a football field, but we can also see before the match and after the match. The sociability of men among themselves or of women among themselves. How do you celebrate after you’ve finished the game… »
Training logs, reports or even exchanges of letters with the federations. This is, for example, what the artistic swimming club Synchro Ripault Val de l’Indre, located in Monts, has undertaken to provide updated archives that will feed the work of historians of today and the future. Eric Alary is himself a historian and teacher in the preparatory classes of the Lycée Descartes. « There are images that come up very often, often a bit the same. I think that this national collection will interest all funds. It will be able to enrich and allow a diversification of the sources and perhaps oblige us, historians, to question ourselves differently with our grid of questions on these sports archives and which reflect the social history of the country and the cultural history, economic history, small economy, political history too. »
So you can now make an appointment with the archivists
. They will come to look at your documents which may be able to go down in history.